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At the Theater — The Golem of Havana

They had me at the title, The Golem of Havana. They had my better-half as well. His father’s family briefly sojourned to Cuba on their way to America.

Tickets were cheap, and it was at La Mama in the East Village, a theater I probably hadn’t set foot in in twenty years or so though I once wrote a book set in the neighborhood.

As the band began to play, the BH realized with a little trepidation that it was a musical. He doesn’t like musicals — with a few exceptions. Fortunately, this turned out to be exceptional – one of those musicals where the music and story are integrated, where there is a serious theme and the music adds to the emotional impact. At intermission he paid the show the ultimate compliment. “It’s like opera,” he said.

The mostly equity-cast all acquitted themselves so well it’s hard to find standouts, though I especially enjoyed Felipe Gorostiza as Batista. He managed to make the dictator comically sleazy while also suggesting his dangerousness and superficial charm. Liba Vaynberg in the leading role was powerful, and if the world is just, she won’t need a day job for long.

The story is the tale of a tailor’s family – Hungarian Jewish immigrants, Holocaust survivors – struggling in Havana on the brink of revolution. The golem at first exists as a Continue reading At the Theater — The Golem of Havana